Management

School Bus Software Offering More Accessibility, One-Stop Shop Options

Nicole Schlosser
Posted on February 27, 2015
BusBoss now features the customizable SmartRoute Dashboard™, which alerts directors to different factors while planning daily bus routes, such as students not assigned to stops or routes.

BusBoss now features the customizable SmartRoute Dashboard™, which alerts directors to different factors while planning daily bus routes, such as students not assigned to stops or routes.

Over the past few years, school districts and school bus contractors have sought out software tools that offer more accessibility across a variety of devices and more seamless integration of different programs to help them deal with busy schedules and fewer resources.

Customers need data accessible on any device from anywhere for when they need to be away from the office, says Lori Jetha, marketing manager of Seon. Parents and administrators in particular expect instant information, so making data from multiple sources available in real time is important, she adds.

Customers are also voicing a need to pull together all that information from GPS tracking and video surveillance seamlessly on one screen and get meaningful insight, Jetha explains, because of strained resources due to budgetary issues and fewer staff members taking on more work. “Customers don’t want to have to import from one system and export to another and decipher how all this data fits together,” she says.

In fleet maintenance, buses can now register real-time information on the health of the bus, helping mechanics stay up to date, says Frank Gazeley, vice president of client relations at Transfinder.

Tracking revenue and the actual costs that buses are incurring for field trips, athletic trips and activity trips — from vehicle maintenance to fuel costs to driver pay — is another common need for school districts today, says Brian Mann, software sales and marketing executive for EasyBus.

In response, many suppliers are offering even more device accessibility, cloud-based systems, real-time information and program integration to help transportation directors, contractors and fleet managers streamline their route and fleet planning and data analysis to cut costs and labor.

BusBoss
Sonia Mastros, president of Orbit Software Inc., says BusBoss, a suite of routing software products, now features the customizable SmartRoute Dashboard™, which alerts directors to different factors while planning daily bus routes, such as students not assigned to stops or routes, and drivers with an expiring license or unsafe driving habits. Customers select what to track as part of their dashboard, and create different dashboard groups. The program can create multiple dashboards based on the process they are trying to complete, such as preparing to transfer students to a new route plan, submit state reimbursement reports and fleet optimization.  

Orbit also plans to release additional functionality, such as satellite view overlay on its maps, integrated address point geocoding instead of parcels, and forced right-side pickups.

Dolphin Fleet Management integrates technology with Zonar Systems to reduce the amount of manual input for fleet managers. It automatically generates work orders and maintenance schedules, and tracks recalls.
Dolphin Fleet Management integrates technology with Zonar Systems to reduce the amount of manual input for fleet managers. It automatically generates work orders and maintenance schedules, and tracks recalls.

Dolphin SoftSense Inc.
Dolphin Fleet Management integrates technology with Zonar Systems to reduce the amount of manual input on fleet upkeep and driver record tracking for fleet managers, says Jeff Yeager, president of Dolphin SoftSense Inc.

The software connects to fueling stations for automatic mileage updates on buses, and utilizes Zonar’s technology to generate work orders, maintenance schedules, bus driver compliance reports, and track recalls.

For example, if a technician wants to change the oil on the fleet’s vehicles every 8,000 miles, they can enter that into the program, and the software generates a work order when the vehicle reaches that mileage. Automated reports also list parts needed on vehicles and assign maintenance jobs to a technician, creating a “to-do list” for him or her.

It also tracks parts inventory, what buses they go on, when they were put on a bus, the cost of a part when it was bought, and compares parts prices and availability from different vendors, Yeager adds.

To handle recalls, users enter the information from the notice into the system, and the software finds all the affected buses in the fleet and tracks actions taken on the recall.

EasyBus Enterprise features an automated portal that makes handling trip requests easier. It also maintains driver and vehicle profiles. 
EasyBus Enterprise features an automated portal that makes handling trip requests easier. It also maintains driver and vehicle profiles. 

EasyBus
EasyBus just released EasyBus Enterprise, field trip-planning software for school districts, school bus contractors and motorcoach operators, says Brian Mann, director of sales and marketing for EasyBus.

With EasyBus Enterprise, school districts can use an automated online portal for more efficient handling of trip approval requests. It enables a teacher or a coach to fill out an online form as easily as if they were booking a flight reservation, Mann explains, which eliminates headache-inducing paper trails. Generally, the district’s athletic director or principal’s office turns the paperwork in to the transportation director, and then the dispatcher assigns a vehicle to a driver and projects the costs for that trip. With EasyBus Enterprise, they can bill it to the department within that district or school.

The software also maintains profiles on all drivers, ensuring drivers’ licenses, physicals and training are all up to date, and logs speeding tickets, accidents and parent or teacher complaints. It also includes profiles on all the fleet’s vehicles, and tracks the maintenance needed on each bus.

For school bus contractors, EasyBus Enterprise also offers dispatching and scheduling, the option to bill schools and other customers, and tracking for costs of and revenue from routes, trips and individual vehicles.

vMax Compass integrates route planning tools, student ridership tracking and video surveillance in real time and in the convenience of one screen.
vMax Compass integrates route planning tools, student ridership tracking and video surveillance in real time and in the convenience of one screen.
Servicefinder manages preventive maintenance scheduling, work orders and parts inventories in one place.
Servicefinder manages preventive maintenance scheduling, work orders and parts inventories in one place.

TransTraks Routing Module offers features such as run cutting, route optimization, mapping, student eligibility, driver time keeping and a dispatch center.
TransTraks Routing Module offers features such as run cutting, route optimization, mapping, student eligibility, driver time keeping and a dispatch center.
TransTraks
TransTraks Routing Module is the quickest product on the market to get up and running on the cloud, says Robert Jacobus, senior consultant for TransTraks.

TransTraks routing offers features such as run cutting, route optimization, mapping, student eligibility, driver time keeping and a dispatch center. With easy to find tools, routing can identify exact driver hours from check-in to leave-yard times, according to the supplier. Those routing hours can in turn be seen by a field trip coordinator to determine if that driver will go over hours for an upcoming trip. A field trip module, web trip school request site and fleet maintenance module come with the product as part of the cost of the cloud service.

Versatrans Routing and Planning integrates routing, field trip and fleet maintenance information to optimize routing resources with a one-touch feature that creates routes.
Versatrans Routing and Planning integrates routing, field trip and fleet maintenance information to optimize routing resources with a one-touch feature that creates routes.
Compass Route Builder uses an ESRI-compatible mapping and database platform so transportation departments can share data district-wide. Staff outside the transportation department can also easily send special requests.
Compass Route Builder uses an ESRI-compatible mapping and database platform so transportation departments can share data district-wide. Staff outside the transportation department can also easily send special requests.

Related Topics: routing, software systems

Nicole Schlosser Managing Editor
Comments ( 1 )
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